The US search giant has included textured 3D buildings in Google Earth since 2006, but has now developed an automated approach to the process using aerial photography.
By the end of the year, Google will aim to create 3D maps of urban areas that are home to hundreds of millions of people.
These new 3D cityscapes will initially be available just on the Google Earth mobile apps, later expanding to the desktop version.
In a blog post, Google Maps vice president of engineering Brian McClendon said that an important aspect of improving the "comprehensiveness, accuracy and usability" of maps is to model the world in 3D.
"This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery-rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery.
"By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people."
As part of plans to map the entire world, Google has set up the Street View Trekker team to get to areas where cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys can't reach.
Complementing satellite and aerial imagery, the new team will put on new Street View equipment that is compact enough to fit in a rucksack, and then head out to create visual maps of remote places, such as mountain tops and woodland areas.
"There's a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot," said McClendon.
"Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we've already taken it out on the slopes."
Google has also announced plans to introduce indoor maps to Google Earth and allow users on its mobile services to access maps while offline.
The mapping announcements come as reports suggest that Apple is preparing to drop Google Maps as the preloaded technology on its iOS mobile operating system, in favour of an in-house system.